Tom Jennings - Archery Icon By Frank Addington, Jr.
May 8, 2008 - 12:21:58 AM
Coming In May. Exclusive Bowhunting.net Interview.
I recently received word from longtime pal Sherwood Schoch that he'd secured our interview with one and only, Tom Jennings. This may sound like an easy feat but it wasn't. Once Tom retired from archery he moved to a very remote part of the world. A place where you can't just call, mail or email. (see below).
Rich Walton and I had made a list up when we started these celebrity interviews and Tom's name was one of the first on it. Our goal was to secure the older pioneers of the sport first and catch up as we went along with the younger heroes.
We have probably tried for two years or more to get an interview with Tom somehow. First we had to actually find out where Tom was. That was just a start however.
Then Sherwood Schoch sends word that he would be visiting Tom in December 2007. I emailed Sher the questions we had sent Tom before and he conducted the interview in person at Tom's place. Then when he revisited Tom in March 2008 he did a second series of questions, these were Sherwood's thoughts and questions. These two interviews will soon appear on Bowhunting.net and we are all very thankful to Sherwood for securing these answers from this Bowhunting industry giant.
I have several memories of Tom, from the earliest days of being an archery retailer with my family, to a visit he once made to our home and archery shop around 1981. I remember for many years getting a Christmas card from "Tom and Hazel Jennings" until her passing several years ago. Tom is an original thinker, outspoken and very opinionated. I like him, always have. As I write these words I am at a show in California and when I was flying out here a security guard at the Charleston airport was telling me about meeting Tom Jennings and getting two of his bows signed by Tom at our archery shop during Tom's visit there. Ironic huh?!? The fella then told me he'd never shot another bow he liked since those original Jennings bows. Like many shooters, he liked the long valley the Jennings bows had at full draw--they didn't come to a solid "stop" like many of today's bows.
I also asked Sherwood about securing a signed arrow from Tom for my collection. Sadly Tom had no archery equipment on the island nor did Sherwood think he could take one there to him. I started to mail Sherwood some plastic vanes to have Tom sign then it hit me! I'd mail some white arrow wraps and have those signed. That would be ideal then I could have my father build an arrow for me using the wrap. The white wraps arrived recently via the US MAIL and sure enough Tom's signature was there. I really appreciate Sherwood doing this favor for me.
We will soon publish these interviews on Tom. Just so you know what Sherwood did for us, here is an excerpt from an email Sherwood sent me regarding where Tom lives now:
" Tom has no snail mail nor E-mail address on his tropical atoll of Roatan, situated 35 miles off the east coast of Honduras. They have no utilities....no telephones, no TV, no electricity (except what they generate), and no road access to their resort. They do have satellite hook up (at times) for telephone. The airport is on the west end of the island. They are situated most of the way towards the east end. To get to their resort, one has to take a 15 kilometer drive from the airport, in a Landcruiser, to a dock at Oak Ridge...which consists of a bar and a few homes suspended over water....then a boat ride out of the harbor, into the open water (ocean) for another 10 kilometers, then back into another harbor where you finally arrive at their diving resort. The trip from the airport to the resort takes about 1 1/2 hours in reasonable weather, longer in other weather. None of the transportation on Roatan is public transportation, each resident provides it on their own. "
Thanks Sherwood, I look forward to sharing Tom's thoughts and his story with our readers. On behalf of Rich Walton, Robert, and all of the readers THANK YOU for getting this interview secured from this living legend. It is an honor to call Sherwood and Tom friends, not just to me but to all archers. Tom Jennings shaped a very important part of our sport and Sherwood was by his side for much of that time. By the way, prior to the Jennings interviews coming out I'd suggest going into the archives and reading our interview with Sherwood. That interview is going to go down as a vital part of our sport's modern history. And this would not have been possible without Sherwood. Thanks amigo.